school days, school days…

it’s not yet old hat
we’re getting used to it though
school is here to stay

I’ve been thinking a lot about the wee one being in school (duh). As the school year progresses, I’m more and more sure of our decision to send him to the neighborhood school.

We could have hand-picked an elementary school for him and petitioned to get him in. (Lots and lots of people do that here.) I had a couple I was looking at, especially one that’s known throughout town for having lots of children of artists and musicians and writers. But in the end, my husband and I decided we’d let the wee one give the neighborhood school a whirl.

It doesn’t have a bad reputation, but it doesn’t really have a reputation at all. It has average testing results, and white kids are the minority. Because it’s Title I, it has some special programs that we can take advantage of if we want, but I feel kind of guilty about that. I mean, if we needed to we could pay for after school activities. But they offer some really cool things for free (a cooking class, a dance class, a gardening thing) because they get a special grant from the district. I just hate the idea that we would take up a space someone else really needs, you know? That’s probably a silly thing to worry about, but I do.

Initially, I worried about the school not having the things that other highly-ranked, highly-talked-about schools have. But the wee one’s classroom is stocked with fabulous activities and at least 4 computers and it’s own little library. His teacher seems really great, and I love how diverse his class is. (I also love that there are only 16 kids.)

While I wait to pick him up in the afternoons, I get to eavesdrop on all the other parents. Yesterday, a Lebanese dad and a Jewish dad were swapping recipes and discussing the finer points of what Kosher means. An African-American dad and a Thai mom were taking turns flirting the wee-er one. An Hispanic mama and her 3-year-old boy were opining with me about the heat. (The little boy, by the way, is the cutest kid ever – every day I see him he runs up to me and says, "I love your baby,"  with this shy grin. I could eat him up.)

Off to the side was a mama in the most beautiful sari, and off to the other side was another mama, with a couple of incredible tattoos, pushing her sleeping toddler in a stroller. There’s the fake boob, skinny jean mama. There’s the daddy with his cell phone and his illegally parked beamer.

The diversity of this school is just incredible. And everyone I’ve met (with the exception of a couple of office staff) has been so sweet and kind and wonderful, parents included.

I feel like a jackass to be so blatant in my shock and amazement at the various races I’m surrounded by everyday. But remember, we just moved back to the city from the burbs where the wee-er one’s school would have been over 80% white.

In a day when school integration is still an issue, I feel proud to have my kiddo go to a school with such a diverse population. And I hope that just because it’s in the city, is majority minority, and doesn’t have 100% A+ A+ test scores that it can remain a good school.

That’s a sad thing to have to wish for, but it’s true. It’s a kickass little school so far and I hope it stays that way.

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